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Preserve your travels forever: 8 hacks to record your travel memories

Everyone sets out with good intentions to record their travel memories but few last the distance. Here are some easy hacks to preserve your holiday memories to look back on in times to come.

Preserve your travels

I have always regretted stopping my travel journal. Three months into my first long term travel stint, my travel diary and online reporting to the folks back home overwhelmed me and I gave up entirely. To this day when I remember a random, life changing experience from that time period I curse myself for not recording the details while they were fresh in my mind.

I know a detailed travel diary isn’t for everyone, and not everyone wants insta-holiday fame but after 6 years on and off the road I know it’s worth finding the solution that works for you. Even if you have to set a phone reminder once a week for a 10 min post, your future self will thank you for the memories. Below are 8 hacks to keep up your recording habit and preserve you travel memories forever.

  • Postcards – while others are frantically trying to get the perfect selfie, I am enjoying the moment and soaking up the atmosphere of an amazing site. On the way out I grab a postcard, with a picture better than any I could take, jot down a few impressions of the experience and drop it in a post box addressed to myself, via family back home. When I return I have a little stack of memories waiting to be scrapbooked or hoarded without any fuss or wasting precious exploration time.

  • Photographs – whether you go Polaroid, DSLR or point and shoot, photo memories of your adventures will bring back the warm and fuzzyies years from now but there is a catch, unless you are a photo editing and sorting machine you will take literally thousands of photos you will never look at again. My three tips to make the most of your snaps are:

1) Back up back up back up – there is not much that’s more devastating than losing years’ worth of memories in one computer meltdown.

2) When you upload to your computer name the file with the date and the location, you will not go back and catch up on this latter no matter what you tell yourself!

3) If you use a social platform upload an album of your 30 best shots every month, the folks back home will be able to follow your travels and you will have a best of album including names and dates to look back on, where unsorted photos may stay hidden on a drive for years.

travel keepsakes

  • Video – GoPro, iPad or fancy camera, video is great at capturing a moment, unfortunately there can be a lot of post-production work. The trick here is to choose the right recording device for you. Unless you are wanting professional level videos for a blog, it is often better to keep it simple, you don’t want to be spending all your time behind the lenses retaking the perfect shot, all you need is to preserve the moment and move on. My tip for videos is to keep it simple and remember to consider the post production time and the memory needed to back up when you choose a video device.

  • Diary – this is the one I gave up on but I learnt a lesson along the way, don’t over commit yourself! Unless you are a writer who truly enjoys the recording process, you don’t need to include your life story. A page once a week with highlights is more than enough to jog your memory, set a reminder alarm if you need to, draw doodles or sketch instead. Just remember names, places and dates as I guarantee you will wish you had the info later.

  • App’s – Nowadays there are a whole ton of apps that do a great job of recording and sharing your travel, though it pays to keep in mind you will need a charged device and in some cases Wi-Fi/3G to upload your info. There may also be issues with which records you wish to share publicly and which you want to keep private, so check your settings. Trip-journal, Travelog and Geospike are popular options. Fellow travel blogger Jo, from wander with Jo recommends Routes Tips “I always keep this travel app handy when I am off for my sojourns. The app is-Routes Tips. The reason I love it immensely is because it lets me record (without wifi/3g) all routes through my smartphone. So if I am off hiking, biking or just walking around town, I can record the exact route taken along with pictures en route. Here is one of the routes I recorded and shared with fellow travelers on the app on my recent trip to South Africa”.

travel memories

  • Scrapbooking – I collect stuff, ticket stubs, maps, brochures and business cards but all of this crap is a great way to keep track of your adventures. Whether you stick things in a diary as you go, or hoard keepsakes until you return to scrap book conventionally latter. Write locations and data on each piece as you collect it for a truly personal record of your adventures.

  • Social media – this is a bit of a no brainer, social media is a great way to keep in touch with the folks back home and preserve the best of your travel memories for latter. From Facebook albums showcasing you best snaps, to live tweeting your adventures in 140 characters and then using something like IFTT recipes to automatically save your tweets into a sort of auto diary in your cloud storage. The only disadvantage of this style of recording is its public nature not lending itself to quiet introspection or hairier adventures.

  • Blogging – ok so this is essentially a travel journal but online, however there is so much scope to what you can do with a travel blog that it’s well worth mentioning. From entirely private or friends and family based right through to professional blogs that earn an income for the traveller, a blog is literally what you make of it. The downside of blogging is set-up (if your serious about blogging make sure you do the set-up before you leave home to overcome the inevitable bugs). Internet connection and if you are producing a polished blog the amount of time it will take to collate. Understanding what you are committing to is the key here and the plentiful articles about how travel changes for professional bloggers tell a cautionary tale that is worth considering before you jump in there.

recording travel memories

No matter which style of recording suits you, if there is one take away you get from this article, it should be to not overcommit yourself. A little bit often, will create a recording habit that can be maintained long term. Dates and location are key and you will look back at your beautifully preserved travel memories and thank me one day.

Think I missed a recording travel tip? Please comment below.


If you likes this post check out this article on the 30 best books to inspire wanderlust and admire some professional travel writing at its best.

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